Welcome writers, readers, and inspiration chasers! Join me as I dip into my prompt resources and select something to explore and share. These prompts are all about inspiration—what they inspire for me and what they inspire for you.
If you’re inspired by the prompt, whether that’s by creating something epic or just warming up for your creative day, I hope you’ll share your creation.
This prompt comes to you via the book Complete the Story released by Piccadilly USA Inc. The prompts in this book give you the first few lines of a story and lined paper for you to continue writing.
Feel free to go wherever the prompt takes you!
Ever since the creature crawled out of the lake, the whole town had begun to show their true colors. The uncertainty, the fear, and the fascination combined into a potent cocktail that brought out the best in some, the worst in others. The creature was…
– page 39
Where I started:
I really liked the first sentence of the prompt—especially if I turned the metaphoric idiom about “true colors” into something literal. After discarding what wasn’t as inspiring, I had to decide what creature crawled out of the lake, who found the creature, and what colors it could make people turn. (And why—what do those colors mean?)
I quickly decided the colors must mean something about the person. Maybe what drives them, or what kind of person they are. I also liked the idea that a person’s color could change through their actions—so that exists in my mind, even if it isn’t on the page in this snippet.
I wanted my creature to be small, and for some reason lake + creature immediately made me think of a reptile. Adding the color-changing features, it wasn’t difficult for me to decide my creature was a chameleon. (Which also meant it was scoopable, another quality I liked for this little visitor.)
I usually spend a lot of time writing about adults and decided to do something different. Since E.T. is imprinted on my soul, I decided a child protagonist who finds an extraordinary creature and hides it from the adults might be fun to explore.
With all that decided, I knew where I wanted to start.
Originally posted for the Story Kernels Patreon January 12, 2023.
What I wrote:
The little chameleon curled in the warmth of Charlene’s aquamarine-stained palms. Cupped in a cocoon that blocked the chill blowing off the lake, his tail flicked over her skin like a happy tickle. He should not have been outside at this time of year! Chameleons are cold blooded, and this little guy was lucky a wandering ten-year-old well-educated in reptiles spotted the glimmering red body at the shoreline. Or else he would have frozen in a matter of minutes!
Charlene tucked chapping hands to her chest, wrapping them beneath the rainbow scarf she had knitted all on her own. Sticks and rocks crunched beneath her boots as she trekked the hill back to the house her dads had rented for fall break.
She might have to take a serious scrub to her hands, since whatever was on the chameleon’s belly wouldn’t rub off, but she’d worry about that after she found a jar and a warm place to keep her new friend. The desk lamp in her room should work for heat. She could come out and grab some sticks and swipe a few leaves of lettuce from her salad at dinner. Bugs might be harder to find, but that spider in the bathroom was surviving on something.
On the porch, Charlene peered into the hole of her cupped hands, the crimson glistening even in the diluted light.
“Ruby,” she decided in an instant. “We just need to make sure Daddy doesn’t find you.” Daddy, unfortunately, didn’t understand a thing about lizards.
Now it’s your turn:
What creature crawls out of a lake? What does the creature bring out in those closest to it? What about those who know little about it? Are the colors the townspeople experience literal or metaphoric?
If you enjoyed this prompt and would like another, the August prompt on Patreon inspired a story about another unusual creature, this one a celestial feline who seems literally impossible.